Time is flying by! It’s a new month already and that means another interview. Every month we invite another traveler and have a chat about their travels and lives. This time Lisanne had a lovely talk with Marina Comes Leandro. You might know her from her amazing Instagram account with gorgeous pictures from around the world: marinacomes.
Lisanne from CHAPTERTRAVEL: Hi Marina. As you’re the owner of one of my favorite travel Instagram accounts, I’m super excited that you’re traveler of the month this time. You live in Barcelona, but you seem to be traveling everywhere all the time! Tell us, what’s your secret?
Marina: Haha, yes! Apparently, I live in Barcelona. But if you really like something, you’ll find the time to do it as often as you can. That’s something I’ve learnt these last years. Some people think I don’t have a serious job (well, now I don’t and I’ll explain you later on) and that I travel non-stop as a way of living. But no, it’s just that I make the most of any opportunity that shows up: weekends, long, weekends, business trips, holidays… It’s a matter of priorities in life. Some people buy a house, while I buy happiness and adventure through my travels. Both options are equally good: you just have to do what makes you happier. And traveling makes me the happiest girl in the world.
Traveling makes us happy too! Thanks for that. Now, tell a bit more about yourself!
I’m a Catalan girl, born in Tarragona, a small city on the Catalan coast pretty near to Barcelona. I’ve always felt very excited about traveling, studying abroad, discovering new places, meeting people from all over the world…and now I’ve been living and working in Barcelona for 12 years. Let’s say it’s my home-sweet-home and I feel lucky to live in such a cool city.
I’m a corporate lawyer, how does that sound? Haha! But here is the big news: I’ve recently quit my ‘standard’ job and I’m currently quite available for traveling and working on new projects…I’m very excited about this big change in my professional life. I don’t know if I’ll ever be a lawyer again, but right know I feel I have to take this travel-train and give it try. We’ll see what happens…
As far as my personal life I’m happily married to my best friend, my partner in crime and, most important, my personal photographer! He has helped me a lot building my Instagram account and taking all those wonderful pictures. I hope I can pay him back one day… his patience is endless!
That’s amazing Marina. So lucky to be married with your best friend and personal photographer, haha. Also, thank you for sharing your big news with us! This must be a very exciting time for you now. This probably even means more traveling for you. Where has your last few trips been?
I was in Italy 2 weeks ago and I’ve just come back from Morocco. As I said, right now I’m quite available for travelling and I’m making the most of it. That’s why you will see me very active on Instagram during the next months.
It’s been my 3rd time in Morocco. It’s one of my favorite destinations ever. So close to Spain and yet so far away. The moment you put your feet in Morocco you’re in another world, but I feel strangely close that country. It happened the first time I visited it and it still happens to me now. I’ve met wonderful people there, made new friend every time, everyone opens their home for you, they share all they have with a total strangers. We seem to have lost all these values. And I love to go there from time to time in order to feel this virgin human nature again. Africa has a pure heart and that is why it’s my favorite continent without a doubt.
My recommendation for a trip to Morocco would be contacting a local guide, I highly recommend souladventure4x4, and get to know the country and its people in depth, let yourself go, forget about what people say about Morocco. Go there and live it first hand, fearless and carefree. You’ll be surprised how at home you feel in a country that is so different from your own. And then you’ll tell me: Marina, you were so right!
Makes me want to go to Morocco! What is your next destination?
We are going to Greece at the end of June! I’m super excited because it’s my first time there. We’ll start in Athens and then we’ll visit several islands such as Naxos, Mykonos, Samos, Santorini. I literally can’t wait!!
What is your favorite destination you’ve ever been and why?
OMG, it’s so difficult to choose a favorite place! There are so many beautiful places in this world and I’ve fallen in love with so many already. When people ask me I always say the same: I cannot name my favorite place, nor my favorite country. But as I said before, I certainly know what my favorite continent is: Africa! My best travel memories are located in this magnificent continent. My heart is half African already and I know I will always find a reason to come back.
We spent our honeymoon roadtrippin’ in Namibia and Botswana and that was beyond unforgettable. The adventure, the landscape, the wildlife, the people we found along our way; it was like being in a movie and we did not want it to end. That is why we went to South Africa last summer. We needed to live an African adventure again. And of course I should mention Morocco because it’s a very special country for me. I only just left and I’m counting the days to come back already.
What’s still on top of your bucketlist?
My bucket list is the whole world, which makes it quite complicated to achieve! But I’d say that Australia and New Zealand are both on our list. We know they are complicated for us because of the endless flights and because they require a lot of time once you are there. But we’ll do our best to go there one day, sooner than later I hope!
What is the process of all your lovely travel pictures?
My hubby takes most of the pics you will see in my IG account but I have to say that I’m the “artistic director” of our photos. I’m the one who is constantly searching for the perfect spot, the best angle and so on. I actually see the picture in my head and I give very specific instructions about what I want, because normally I want to be in the picture too! This is my main problem: I can’t be the photographer and the model at the same time! But I wish I could, because I really like taking pictures.
So when I travel with friends or family, I do the same: I give them the instructions about what to do and nobody realizes that the picture has been taken by another person. I think I’ve managed somehow to keep a personal style in all my pics, irrespective of the real photographer.
I completely agree with that. You have a very consistent look on your Instagram page. Also, how lucky you are with family friends and husband that are helping you with taking all these lovely shots!
What is the funniest thing that ever happened on your travels?
Mmmm…. I have a lot of anecdotes but nothing too funny I guess! Although I have a good example of how suborn I can be when I want a picture: Last summer we went to South Africa and while in Cape Town we obviously wanted to go on top of Table Mountain, which is the most iconic symbol of the city. The cable car that takes you on top of the mountain didn’t work that week. It’s the only week they stop the service during the year – for maintaining purposes, and I couldn’t believe we would miss the world-famous views from the top.
What did I do? I googled to find hiking routes to go on top of the mountain by foot and we finally climbed Table Mountain (1100m) on our own, which was quite hard because the route was very steep. But the views from the top were definitely worth the effort! When we arrived to the summit it was foggy under the mountain, so we could see like an ocean of clouds below us, covering the city of Cape Town. I will never forget that morning, not only for the stunning view, but also for the fact that nothing should stop you if you really want to do something!
What is the scariest thing that ever happened on your travels?
Rather than scary I would say that the most epic travel moments I’ve lived are:
a) The day I met great white sharks in the flesh! It was in South Africa, inside a cage and it was beyond awesome! I could not sleep that night. I was too excited about what had happened!
b) Our recent paragliding experience in Rio de Janeiro! What a beautiful flight over the city. The views and the silence were impressive.
I’d love to repeat both experiences!
Do you have any tips for people that would love to travel as much as you do?
You’ll find a quote on my IG profile that perfectly summarizes my travel attitude in life: WHEN IN DOUBT, TRAVEL. Every time I have the opportunity to go somewhere, I try not to let it go. When I ask myself: should I stay or should I go? I always choose the second option and I never regret it, believe me! Life is too short and the world is too big; there’s no time to waste. Think less and travel more! That would be my perfect slogan.
How do you fund your travels?
So far with our salaries. No big mystery! Right now I’m starting to collaborate with hotels and travel businesses which will probably help to fund a small part of our travels. Hope to increase these collaborations in the following months.
What is your absolute favorite Instagram travel account?
There is an IG account for travel girls that really inspires me… DameTraveler. It’s a mixture of travel inspiration, perfect visual taste and good photography. I felt especially proud the first time they featured one of my pics. I had a small number of followers by that time and it meant a lot of exposure. It inspired me to keep dreaming and believing in our photo-style and they keep featuring me from time to time, so I’m really happy because it’s my favorite travel account.
And what is the favorite photo you have on your own Instagram account?
Honestly, I can’t tell you. I’m not able to choose my favorite picture. It’s even more difficult than choosing my favorite country! They all mean a lot to me, they remind me of how lucky I am to have been there, to have lived that moment, to be able to discover this world step by step. I could not choose amongst all those perfect memories, believe me.
Do you have anything else to add?
Mmm, yes! Many people ask me why I love traveling so much. The answer is simple this time. It’s the best form of education and the best way to understand and love this world of ours. There’s something about mankind that has always surprised me. We usually pay more attention to the differences between cultures, countries and people than to the points we all have in common. What a big mistake! There’s nothing better than feeling strangely close to someone you’ve just met in a foreign country, or exchanging a warm look on the street with someone you’ll never see again, or even recognizing traditions and habits that you thought were exclusively yours.
Traveling opens your mind, shows you how wrong you are about your convictions and how similar you are to people who live 10.000 miles away from you. And I love it. I love all the benefits from traveling. As I see it, it is one of the few things in life that cannot possibly do harm in any way, and this is quite unique, don’t you think?
Yes, I agree 100%. Traveling enriches your life and teaches us so much. Thanks for that! And thank you for this wonderful interview and of course for your time and effort. Happy travels!
Are you interested to be traveler of the month? Please sent an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us a bit about yourself and your travels.